Death of Abul Hossain at Pragati Re-rolling Mill on 17 March 2007 when he fell from the roof
The Investigators arrived at Pragati Re-rolling Mill in June 2007 and talked to Ataur Rahman, the security guard. He said that he had heard that a worker named Abul Hossain had died after falling from the tinned roof of the Mill. However, he did not know details of the incident. Some labourers infront of the tea stall near the factory provided some further information. One of them said that the deceased Abul Hossain used to work as foreman in the Mill. On the day of the incident, Abul Hossain, as per the order of the Mill owner, climbed on the roof of the tin-shed building to help the workers with the repair-work of the roof. When he suddenly stepped on a faulty part of the tin, the roof collapsed and he fell down 30 ft.
When Abul Hossain fell on the ground he injured himself badly in the iron bracket railing that was in the middle. He died in Dhaka Medical College Hospital. Although the Mill authority paid for his medical expenses, these labourers said that they do not know whether the authority had paid any compensation to the family of the deceased.
The investigators were able to trace the wife of Abul Hossain. She was working at Dhaka Fashion in Jurain Shetu Market. She confirmed the basic facts of the circumstances of the death as set out by the workers - that at about 12:15 pm her husband was asked by the owner to help with the repair-work on the roof of the Mill, the old tin gave away, his feet got caught in between the iron angles and he fell down on the ground. At that time his mouth was bleeding profusely and his legs were broken. Two labourers of the Mill, Yousuf and Salam, took him to Dhaka Medical College Hospital and they informed her that her husband had died on the spot.
In relation to compensation, she informed the investigators that her relatives and the owner of Pragati Mill, Md Monir, and the manager Md Latif, had a discussion on 15 May 07. In that discussion, when the owner side offered to give Taka One lakh as compensation, Shahida’s uncle, claimed Taka Five lachs. At one point, the owner’s side agreed to pay Taka Two lakh as compensation. It was agreed that Taka One lakh Fifty thousand of the compensation would be kept in the bank for the education expenses of deceased Abul Hossain’s sons: Md. Saidul Islam, aged 12, and Md. Shojib Islam, aged 10. Out of the remaining Taka Fifty thousand, thirty thousand taka (Tk.30,000/=) would be given to the deceased’s wife, Shahida and twenty thousand (Tk.20,000/=) would be given to the deceased’s mother. It was also decided that the money payable to Shahida will be paid in instalments of Tk.5,000 per month by the fifth day of every month. However, the owner did not pay that. When Shahida, driven by financial difficulties in maintaining her livelihood and continuing her sons’ education, went to see the ownertwo months after her husband’s death, they agreed to pay her at the rate of Tk.500/=.
As of June 2007 she had received 4 instalments of Tk.500/-, totalling Tk.2,000/-. Since May 2007, the owners have stopped paying even that amount. Due to her financial difficulties, she had to take up a job in Dhaka fashion in Shetu Market, Jurain for a wage of Tk.800/- per month. She said that after a few rounds of discussions, the owner’s side decided that they would pay the full amount of compensation by 1 July 2007
When the investigators spoke to her on the 8 July, she informed then that instead of paying the full compensation on 1 July, the owner had paid Tk.30,000/- to her and Tk.20,000/- to the deceased’s mother on the following day, and that she is expecting that they will deposit Tk.150,000/- for her two sons within a few days
An unlawful death case was lodged on 17 May 2007